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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/12/10

Nine Years After 9/11, Has Al-Qaeda Finally Won?

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As America and the world observed the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it occurred to me that perhaps the terrorists have finally won.

No, not perhaps. It really seems like they have won.

After all, we are no safer today than we were in 2001. In fact, I suspect we're becoming less and less safe with each day that the tea partiers, the anti-mosque protestors, and that crazy Florida preacher demonstrate their belligerent hatred of Muslims, which is founded on ignorance and right-wing fear mongering. That is no way to win hearts and minds, let alone a "war on terrorism".

Al-Qaeda got its holy war. George W. Bush got his crusade. And America has become more divided than it's been in decades.

And that may have been part of the plan all along.

We've lost billions of dollars, thousands of U.S. soldiers, and countless innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no conceivable prospect of any kind of real "victory" on either front. To add insult to injury, the Iraq war was waged on lies and was totally unnecessary, thoroughly immoral, and technically illegal. But now it's the kind of thing that America does. God bless America, baby!

We hold terrorism suspects, including children, in illegal and indefinite detention. They're kept in a legal limbo where they'll be among the "lucky" minority if they ever get a fair trial and a chance to prove that maybe they were among the known innocents arrested on a translation error or turned over to U.S. troops by unscrupulous bounty hunters.

And we torture them. We've become a nation of torturers, where the torturers and their bosses escape any punishment. Is there anything uglier?

And it didn't end with the Bush-Cheney administration.

Despite campaign promises of government transparency, the Obama administration is upholding the Bush administration's "state secrets" excuse to avoid accountability in torture prosecutions.

Big Brother grows bigger.

Our economy has collapsed, along with the middle class, while Congress is too busy playing politics to address the root causes or even treat the symptoms.

But the military-industrial complex continues to thrive.

So do the greedy oil companies, who carelessly pollute our local waters even as they feed our addiction to Middle Eastern oil.

Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have become major political figures.

And xenophobia is the new norm in what was once a proud melting pot of cultures.

In other words, America has lost its soul. Or sold it to the devil.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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